CAIRO, EGYPT — The price of subsidized bread in Egypt has not changed since 1977 but now Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, president of Egypt, is requesting the price be increased, Reuters reported.

Currently a subsidy program supplies over 60 million Egyptians five loaves of bread per day for 0.05 Egyptian pounds ($0.0032) per loaf, Reuters said.

“It is time for the five-piaster loaf to increase in price,” Sisi said at the opening of a food production plant. “Some might tell me leave this to the prime minister, to the supply minister to (raise the price); but no, I will do it in front of my country and my people. It’s incredible to sell 20 loaves for the price of a cigarette.”

According to Reuters, the price of subsidized bread has been a sensitive issue in Egypt since 1977 when then President Anwar Sadat reversed a price rise due to riots in attempt to change the subsidy program.  

Sisi did not say how much the price increase should be but indicated it was time for a change.

The Egyptian supply ministry will look into how raising the bread prices will impact the country and present their findings to cabinet, Reuters said citing a local newspaper El-Watan.

Hussein Abu Saddam, head of the farmer’s syndicate, told Reuters, “The decision is right and comes at a very suitable time. It helps us finish with the old practices and customs, in which the president was always afraid of touching bread prices, fearing the outcry of the poor.”